A COVID19 vaccine will be mandatory for those wishing to travel freely within the EU. Naftemporiki has quoted the Head of the EU Commission as saying there will only be two possible reasons someone in the EU will not be vaccinated and neither of the two reasons include someone choosing not to be vaccinated
Quotes like this from the EU are all too common. Quotes which start of by saying one thing but end saying the exact opposite.
In simplified terms, the quote is saying the EU will not discriminate against Europeans for their opinion, as long as Europeans have the same opinion as the EU. And fundamentally this is what it comes down to. An opinion.
Is there room for an opinion?
Are people entitled to their own opinion about COVID19?
Specifically are people able to assess the risk of contracting COVID19 and possibly dying of COVID19 and weighing those risks up against taking a vaccine for COVID19.
Should people be allowed to come to an informed opinion about their situation and their personal health?
Decision Making Process
History of Corona Viruses
In human history, COVID19( SARS-COV-2) is the first coronavirus to kill more than nine hundred people globally and of the deadly corona viruses that have killed more than five hundred people, the majority of the deaths occurred within one year of the virus being identified. (SARS, MERS)
Believing that COVID19 is a once in a lifetime occurrence is an entirely reasonable view (given there hasn’t been anything like it in recorded history).
Chance of Dying
COVID19 affects different age groups differently, someone under the age of 65 without underlying health problems has a tiny chance of dying from COVID19 or indeed having any long term effects.
COVID19 Vaccine vs No Vaccine
Taking in to consideration the history and the age of COVID19 deaths, the chance of dying from COVID19 in the future is minuscule for large parts of the population, in March 2021.
I believe vaccines are generally safe and in any case the risk from a vaccine is considerably lower than the risk of dying from the disease they are inoculating the person against. I have absolutely no issue taking a Tetanus shot if I have stepped on a rusty nail for example.
However, I cannot say the same thing about a COVID19 vaccine. Even if we had toxicology data for the COVID19 vaccines (which we do not at the moment to the best of my knowledge), even if we had the same data for COVID19 vaccines that we have for any other vaccine which had received conventional approval, I would still not consider the COVID19 vaccine worth “my” risk.
I do not have pre-exisitng medical conditions and I am not in an at-risk age group, in short the risk to me from COVID19 is extremely low.
Generally I do not like taking medications of any description unless they are absolutely necessary eg I take Paracetamol for a migraine (not a headache). Yes the COVID19 vaccines are riskier than other vaccines due to the unconventional/special approval process (although I am sure they will pass conventional approval process at some point). Yes the probably chances of suffering vaccine damage is tiny but the chances of me suffering damage from COVID19 is equally tiny.
There is a risk to both decisions, however small that risk may be. There is a risk I will die from COVID19, there is a risk (however small) I will suffer vaccine damage from the COVID19 vaccine.
Lets say the chances are even.
If I decide to take the COVID19 vaccine I will definitely expose myself to that risk, but if I do not take the vaccine I am not definitely exposing myself to COVID19. I would still have to catch COVID19.
In short, not taking the vaccine is the least risky option for me and my circumstances.
You might say the risk is tiny either way, what is the difference?
On a superficial basis you would be correct but if you make a thousand decisions in your life which reduce risk, which take away risk where it is not necessary, where there is no gain to be had, then you have reduced the risk in your life in a meaningful way.
Not taking Paracetamol unnecessarily on one occasion is not going to make a big difference. Wearing bright clothing at night is not going to make a big difference on one night but if you continually make decisions which make a tiny difference, one of those decisions or a combination of those decisions could end up saving your life or at least improving your health in a meaningful way. And if all these decisions came at no personal or economic cost then they are worth doing.
But it would appear than the EU disagrees with my assessment, the EU believes I should be compelled to take a risk on this one issue but for me it is not about this one issue.
It is about a principle.
I do not know which decision will help my health, or extend my life but as I am the one that has to live with the consequences of those decisions, I will make those decisions. The EU will bear no responsibility for a bad decision it has forced on me, which is why I reject their opinion that they can compel me to take a risk with my health, however tiny they think the risk may be.
They are not the ones that will have to live with the consequences of their decision.